Cyberattacks on Schools: How Educators Are Responding

Hackers play on people’s fears. That is why schools need to be especially vigilant about cybersecurity in the weeks and months ahead, as educators, students, and parents worry about how their lives are likely to change as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Remember, one click on a phishing email can disrupt a whole computer system.

Plus, with schools closed indefinitely in many places, a record number of students will be using school-issued digital devices at home or accessing cloud-based school services from their own digital devices. That could exacerbate K-12 cybersecurity problems, which were already growing before the coronavirus.

Consider that there have been at least 775 publicly disclosed cyber incidents in K-12 schools nationally since 2016. That includes phishing attacks, data breaches, ransomware attacks, and denial-of-service attacks, according to the K-12 Cybersecurity Resource Center. And the number doubled between 2018 and 2019.

Under normal circumstances, this was a big problem. Now, it could be even bigger.


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About This Report

This special report is the second in a series of three special reports for the 2019-20 school year that Education Week is producing for K-12 ed-tech leaders. The next report will examine the role of artificial intelligence in K-12 education.

Read the first report on K-12 tech usage here.

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There have been at least 775 publicly disclosed cyber incidents in K-12 schools since 2016. The number more than doubled between 2018 and 2019, a report shows.
March 18, 2020 – Education Week

Cybersecurity experts have warned about coronavirus pandemic-related phishing scams targeting many sectors of the economy. Now, schools are being warned to be extra vigilant too.
March 18, 2020 – Education Week

The proliferation of school-issued digital devices can open schools up to all kinds of cybersecurity problems, especially in schools with 1-to-1 computing programs.
March 18, 2020 – Education Week

A survey of 513 K-12 technology leaders on how they are dealing with the latest cybersecurity challenges showed that 63 percent are working on training end users.
March 18, 2020 – Education Week

The Flagstaff schools in Arizona suffered a ransomware attack that forced district officials to close schools for two days. Here’s what the district learned from that experience.
March 18, 2020 – Education Week

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